As part of the new Ontario Virtual Learning Strategy, the provincial government has announced $50 million in funding in 2021-22 to support virtual learning projects.
- Digital content ($25 million) for new online courses and programs, adopting or creating open educational resources, virtual reality/simulations/labs, creating wraparound resources for open educational resources such as homework systems, question banks, slides, etc.
- Digital fluency ($5 million) for shareable modules or courses supporting faculty and students to become fluent in digital technologies and online teaching and learning.
- Digital delivery ($1 million) for partnerships with Ontario-based educational technologies to pilot and test technologies to support online and virtual learning.
- Capacity-building collaborative projects ($1 million – requires six institutions collaborating) for collaborative marketing of Ontario programs, wraparound supports for online learners (technology, academic literacy, mental health, career advisory, and equity, diversity, decolonization, and inclusion supports), and other projects that build virtual learning capacity.
All applications must be submitted from one contact per institution and require the signature of the provost; individuals cannot apply directly to the fund. The Office of Open Learning will support the process internally and work with anyone from the UWindsor community interested in applying. Grants are open to faculty, staff, and students.
“This funding is an opportunity to access significant resources to enhance our online and digital teaching and learning experiences,” says Nick Baker, director of the Office of Open Learning. “We have all learned so much during our forced experiment with online learning over the past year, and I’m sure everyone has ideas on how the experience could be improved — this is an opportunity to address those issues.”
Baker says it is also an opportunity to explore the potential of future learning and teaching modalities, options for enhancing flexibility in existing programs, or to develop new programs and courses leveraging what has been learned during the pandemic.
The University of Windsor has been one of the most successful institutions in the province in accessing provincial funding supporting teaching and learning, he notes.
The internal deadline for completed applications is Monday, Feb. 1, with submissions due to eCampus Ontario by Feb. 3.
Anyone with questions or ideas for potential projects should contact Baker as soon as possible by email (email@example.com) or on Teams to discuss. The Office of Open Learning is also holding an online Community of Practice meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12 for interested faculty to ask questions, find out more information about the categories, and get feedback on ideas for projects. Register for the meeting at: https://ctl2.uwindsor.ca/openlearning/workshops/23/#wkshp-287.